Once upon a long time ago1Okay…more like a few months or years. I thought about2But did not actually. writing a review of Doodle, an online scheduling tool for simplifying the process of creating meets in which all participants can actually participate.
Recently I had the need to schedule another meeting with a group of individuals who have incredibly conflicting and variable schedules, so I decided to utilize such a scheduling tool again…and, of course, I went to Doodle first…
But I love to explore and curate and find the best way to do x and so I went through my semi-regular routine when evaluating something new I want to utilize3This isn’t normal for items I’ll be using once-off, but I plan on using the scheduling tool more frequently, and imho, it is a lot easier to get people using the tool you want from the get-go than to change to something new half-way…since it oftentimes takes dragging kicking and screaming individuals long distances to get them to use any such tool in the first place.:
- Google relevant terms like “Doodle competitor,” “Doodle alternative,” “online scheduling tool,” “online meeting app,” and so on.
- Go to AlternativeTo and see what alternatives they had to Doodle.
- Visit a bunch of these options and review them in a hasty manner.4If I spent a decent amount of time on each site I’d spend my entire life reviewing these sorts of sites…which I don’t have time for…this means, that on occasion, I don’t always, always get the best tool…b/c a tool that I write-off early ends up being the best…Still, I like to think I usually find the best and almost always find a tool that is more than sufficient for my needs.
I visited a number of options like Dudle, DO’ZZ, SelectTheDate, ScheduleOnce, and so on. For various reasons I didn’t settle on any of these…but then I returned to one of the sites I’d written off for aesthetic reasons (it ain’t very pretty): WhenIsGood. After playing around with it a bit I was quite happy and have been using it since.
Let me walk you through its pages and you’ll see how simple and fairly intuitive it is. First we have our dashboard (“your account”).
Its very simply – essentially you see a list of events you have created and you can view, edit, or delete the events. I assume that detach allows one to remove the event from your account (you can use this service w/out creating an account).
Somewhat hidden at the top right you see a link to create a new event. The enter results code is for those who create events w/out accounts – its a unique string that identifies their event and allows them to access it.
I’ve blacked out a few small areas – mainly b/c they had my email address…which is floating around the internet, but I decided not to make any more available than it already is. There are a billion and one ways to get in contact w/me.
Under the events I blacked out the actual links to the events, they are clickable and allow you to view the event.
Now lets say we decide to create a new event, here is what we will see:
It isn’t the most intuitive interface, but if you mess around for five minutes you can figure it out. Note that you can set the length of the meeting, give the event a name like, “My Super Awesome Surprise Birthday Party For Myself.” There is that strange little slider bar above the calendar, use this to make the size of the calendar (not how many days, just its dimensions on the screen) larger or smaller.
But there are really a few more options we need if we are going to create a helpful scheduling event, so we click on Show Options which shows us this:
That is better. Now we can select the days we want to have displayed on our calendar. In my case I was scheduling a recurring event, which When Is Good doesn’t seem to inherently have any options for, so I just chose a week in the future and let people pick off those days, knowing that the event would then recur on a weekly basis.
Now click Create Event and you are all set….Right? Nope. You’ll get an error message, you need to “paint” some time slots. You are the first visitor to your event even before it is created and you get to determine what days/times will even be an option to folks when they view the event. Once you’ve selected your desired days/times you can successfully create the event. You’ll be given a unique URL you can share with anyone else via any method you choose (email, Facebook, Twitter, hand-written note, whatever). When someone visits this unique URL they will see this:
We could have customized the directions, as to me “painting” times is not very intuitive, I’d suggest something like, “Please click on each day/time slot you are available to attend.”
The individual wouldn’t see all the options I have at the top right, since in this screenshot I’m logged into my account, but at the bottom right they’d have a spot to enter their name and email and send the response.
Now we get to our last screen, the results screen:
Now I see the calendar I created with info. filled out by the individuals I invited to the event. The green highlighted spaces are the slots where all respondents are available (I told you, crazy schedules).
Next to each of the remaining time slots are little dots, the dots indicate how many individuals cannot attend at that day/time. If I put my mouse over a time slot it will show me who can/can’t come and if I put my mouse over a name (under responses on the left-hand side) it will show me all the slots they selected as available highlighted in green.
As you can see, it is a functional although not aesthetically pleasing tool. It isn’t entirely intuitive, but its simplicity makes it easiest enough to figure out with a few minutes stumbling around.
Why Not Doodle?
I decided not to use Doodle b/c of the pricing essentially. If you are a business or an organization that will frequently utilize online scheduling – go with Doodle, it has more features, the pricing is reasonable, and it is more aesthetically pleasing…but if this is just an occasional thing, When Is Good will do just fine.
Feedback for When Is Good
Here are a few unsolicited suggestions to the folks over at When Is Good to take their application to the next level:
- Include dates on your What’s New page so we can tell if you have been working on the app recently.
- Redesign the aesthetic layout, center the main screen elements, make new event stand out from the rest of the menu options.
Premium with When Is Good
When is Good does offer a premium version at $20/yr. which is around half of Doodle’s lowest paid plan. It adds a few more options, but nearly as many as Doodle. If I was you and willing to pay, I’d go with Doodle.